books / journey / learning disabilities / literacy / reading / Uncategorized

I read a book! Like, the whole book… No cheating… I read every word. An educator’s narrative of guilt & overcoming the challenges of literacy.

I read a book! Like, the whole book… No cheating… I read every word.

Yes, that’s right, someone who has

hated and struggled with reading and writing,

who works in education,

and who is determined to start a blog,

is proudly proclaiming that she has read a book.

I found it, no wait… it found me, in Target. Sitting there on the shelf, boasting multiple awards, Resse’s Book Club status, and “now a major motion picture” rank.

Actually, all of the accolades made me want to read it less, feeling shamed by a community of ‘readers’, I was never a part of.

I watched as people were posting their obsession with the book and thought, “Ugh, it’s a book for people who like to read,” and I kept on scrolling.

I don’t know what made me pick up the book. It was fate, really. I didn’t even know what it was about.

All I knew was

it took place in the South…

But at the moment,

I was missing home in Canada,

from my sweltering balcony in Arkansas,

and the last thing I wanted to do was

read a Southern story,

about Southern times,

in the heat of the South.

Now, you may think I am going to rave about my connection with the story and how I tried to hold back the tears on the plane ride as I finished the story in sync with the wheels touching down in Georgia.

(Yes, it’s all true.)

But something much more amazing happened.

I read a book, absolutely loving every moment, and…

I shared this right of passage, unintentionally, with a complete stranger.

Walking onto the plane, I couldn’t put the book down and read as I strolled down the narrow aisle. Tangled in the details, desperate to flip the pages, a woman stopped me and asked,

“Is it any good? I heard really great reviews about the book… does it live up to the hype? I’ve been meaning to buy it.”

I replied in all honesty,

I’ve never been the person to read the book over seeing the movie, but there is no way anyone could ever do this justice.

It is absolutely moving.

I’m sure there are many great “moving” books out there but this book and I celebrated much more than a New York Times write-up, I pushed through some of the struggles I have had with reading that held me back from enjoying literature in the past.

I kept going because Kya, a beautifully fierce young girl in the book, was worth it and, quite frankly, so was I.

While on the plane, I was surprised I only had so many pages to read until I could finally put all the details together.

I paused and thought of the woman I passed on the way to my seat.

I didn’t know if I would be able to finish the book in time, but I was determined to share such a great novel. More importantly, I was going to do something I had never done before.

Gift a bookthat I have read and lovedto another person.

As, you know, I finished it just in time. The thought of missing her to the crowded aisle from row 14D made me sick. I asked the man next to me if I could get by when the plane landed… he smiled. I ran down the aisle, people looking at me as though I had a connection to make, and tried to reach row 6, falling just short.

The man sitting behind her, looked at me and said,

“You finished it, didn’t you?”. As if he knew.

“You want me to tap her on the shoulder?”. I nodded.

“This is for you.”

She smiled in disbelief. And thanked me over and over again.

“I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.”

What happened next was a bit of a whirlwind. The man, who tapped 6A on the shoulder, started downloading the book as we waited for them to open the cabin door to let us out. The woman next to her chimed in and explained how great the book was and that 6A would love the complexities of the story. We all exited the plane and waited for our bags to come out from the scorching heat while introducing ourselves, talking about where we were from and our plans for the summer. We laughed and were amazed by everything we had in common.

She thanked me again, waved the book as she took a turn towards the international flights, and left for the islands.

I wouldn’t call myself a reader or looking to join a book club, not just yet… I found a whole world, between the lines, that has opened up new possibilities. I made a connection and I now feel a new gravitational pull, a call to adventure that is waiting for me at the bookstore just down the street.

What a gift!

It has taken me years to find the confidence and courage to answer that call.

Better late than never.


“There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books.”
— Irving Stone

Here are three suggestions for those who struggle with picking up a book and finishing it!

  1. Think in pictures. As you read, create a world that you can connect with… as you do so, you will crave more details and pay closer attention to descriptive characteristics throughout the novel.
  2. Operate within your attention span. Find a place and time that works for you. When you start to tire or become distracted, you will begin to go through the motions and end up having to re-read pages. This can be frustrating and a false sense of not being a good reader. Being tired and distracted would make anything challenging!
  3. Read with purpose. Select a book that piques your interest. It’s not always the topic, but decide what experience you want to have with the author and/or the book… consider the different writing styles and formats.

Don’t be shy. Answer that call… it’s just you and the pages. There is an incredible world, waiting for you, filled with powerful imagery and emotions, all caught up between the lines. xox 🙂 Annie

BTW- It was “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens… and yes, it lives up to its hype! The featured picture is from the movie… still deliberating on whether I will go see it 😉

Have a great week!


8 thoughts on “I read a book! Like, the whole book… No cheating… I read every word. An educator’s narrative of guilt & overcoming the challenges of literacy.

  1. Hi Annie. I’m sorry I’m late in reading and commenting on this post. I’ve had a couple of somewhat stressful and disastrous days this week which I shared about after the events. It’s made me all behind and I have about 92 emails sitting in my inbox, all screaming for my attention!

    I think it’s brilliant that you managed to read this book when it’s always been something you’ve struggled with. I’m the same; I can start reading a new book but then find a dozen other ‘things’ to do which then, stop me reading. My concentration isn’t the best either. At the moment, it’s pretty shot to pieces because of everything that’s going on.

    I really enjoyed hearing about your journey on the plane with your book and that you gifted it to a complete stranger. What a lovely thing to do. No wonder she was delighted. I’m attempting to read Elif Shafak’s ‘The Island of Missing Trees’. I’ve already read the first few pages twice in an attempt to keep the words in my head. I’m too easily distracted at home to read. I try to go to the library once a week where I find it so much easier to concentrate and get in the right frame of mind for reading. I really ought to put my laptop down for an hour and read instead. Anyhow, I feel inspired by your post, and next time we chat, I will let you know how I’m doing. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy your next book as much as this last one. Ellie xx 🌞💞

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my! I cannot believe that I missed this lovely comment! I hope you are finding some quiet time and a calm space to do your reading. I look forward to hearing about your new roommates and the adjustments… I am sure it is all going smoothly. I have been on the struggle bus a little but I am finding that blogging has helped me refocus a little. Sometimes we all have to take a dose of our own advice! I hope this find you in good health and spirits!!! xoxo 🙂 Annie

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hi Annie. Please, don’t worry about the late response – I know you’ve been very busy, and as you’ve said, you’ve been struggling a bit lately. I know what that’s like only too well, so I hope things are beginning to pick up for you a little now. I’m very glad that blogging has helped you a bit, too.

        I’m okay, thanks, apart from being very stressed with all the changes happening at my house. The beds and furniture are arriving on Thursday and then, I’ve got to find someone to put all the flat-pack stuff together. It’s proving somewhat difficult to find someone so far. I’ll be glad when I’m straight again, although it’s not looking like anytime too soon.

        As for reading, I haven’t got any further. I just can’t seem to find the time or the concentration lately. Perhaps, when things settle a bit more here, I’ll be able to continue reading my book. It’s a library book, so I only have a limited time in which to read it. I’ll probably end up buying a copy, so that I can read at my leisure. Take care, my friend xxx Ellie xxx 🥰

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I feel your excitement and am so thrilled for you. Both my son and husband live with dyslexia (and ADHD), and I don’t know if my husband has ever made it through a novel, cover to cover. I’m aways so surprised when I meet people who’ve chosen careers in academia who also have learning challenges, I suppose because formal education was an absolute nightmare for my guys. That said, I have tremendous admiration as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is such an accomplishment! And as someone in education, who empathizes with her kids, it makes me so happy that someone uderstands the struggle! Cheers… to reading more books! May they be page turners and filled with wonderment! 🙂 Annie

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I enjoyed that book too though not the ending. Thanks for reading my blog. I love reading and am always pleased when other people discover the joy of it too. And I loved the way you wrote about it. If I were still teaching I would use your piece as a motivator!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s